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Dislocated worker grant to help close skilled labor gap in Winsted
Jan. 19, 2014

By Starrla Cray
Staff Writer

WINSTED, MN – If you’re looking for work but don’t have the right training to get hired, Central Minnesota Jobs and Training Services might be able to help.

CMJTS representatives spoke at Thursday’s Winsted Area Chamber of Commerce meeting about opportunities, including a grant that would pay certain students’ full $8,900 tuition cost at the Dunwoody center in Winsted.

“Typically, these grants might fund a couple thousand, but because what we have in Winsted is a fast-track program leading to immediate employment, DEED [the Department of Employment and Economic Development] agreed to fully fund our training program in Winsted,” commented Barb Obershaw of Dunwoody College of Technology.

Registration is currently open for Winsted’s second 16-week welding course. Classes begin Monday, March 2.

“We can have up to 12 students,” Obershaw said.

Because the class starts before high school graduation, Dunwoody is hoping to attract adult learners.

Some of them might qualify for free tuition through a National Emergency Grant, which is being offered to dislocated workers (people who’ve been unemployed for an extended period of time).

Those who don’t qualify for the National Emergency Grant might still be eligible for other grants.

“We have a number of different grants, and people qualify on a case-by-case basis,” said Bob Mathews of CMJTS.

Before being accepted into the Dunwoody program in Winsted, applicants must earn a National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC). There is no charge for the test, which can be taken at a workforce center in the area.

Help for employers
At Thursday’s chamber meeting, Youth Employment Specialist Jennifer Carl of CMJTS encouraged Winsted business leaders who are looking for skilled workers to contact CMJTS.

The center offers a number of resources, including an internship program called Workforce Protége.

Through this program, employers are matched with a youth participant, who interns with the company. CMJTS pays a portion of the student’s wages, so businesses get extra help at a reduced cost.

“The nice thing is, there’s no obligation to hire this person,” Carl said, adding that many businesses do extend an employment offer, though, because the training is already complete.

To learn more about opportunities for businesses and job seekers through CMJTS, call 1-800-284-7425.

Other chamber news
• The annual chamber banquet is set for Saturday, Feb. 7 at the Blue Note Ballroom.

• The Winsted women’s expo will be Saturday, March 28 at the Blue Note Ballroom.

• Winsted chamber businesses will have an opportunity to be included on a civic calendar that will be printed in February.

• The City of Winsted is currently seeking applicants for open positions on its planning and zoning commission, airport commission, and downtown vibrancy commission. Those who would like to apply for any of these openings can contact city hall at (320) 485-2366 or stop in and pick up an application (201 1st Street North).

• The Luce Line State Trail project is set for completion in 2015.

• Improvements are being planned for Campbell Field, including a new dugout, deck, seating, and landscaping. The park is used for more than 60 game dates each season.

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